Negotiating Boundaries Between Gender and Social Identities in the Principality of Samos: The Case of Divorces (1902–1911)


  • Vasilios Gialamas Faculty of Early Childhood Education
  • Sofia Iliadou Tachou
  • Alexia Orfanou



Marriage, Divorce, Gender, Social Identity, Principality of Samos


This study focuses on divorces in the Principality of Samos, which existed from 1834 to 1912. The process of divorce is described according to the laws of the rincipality, and divorces are examined among those published in the Newspaper of the Government of the Principality of Samos from the last decade of the Principality from 1902 to 1911. Issues linked to divorce are investigated, like the differences between husbands and wives regarding the initiation and reasons for requesting a divorce. These differences are integrated in the specific social context of the Principality, and the qualitative characteristics are determined in regard to the gender ratio of women and men that is articulated by the invocation of divorce. The aim is to determine the boundaries of social identities of gender with focus on the prevailing perceptions of the social roles of men and women. Gender is used as a social and cultural construction. It is argued that the social gender identity is formed through a process of “performativity”, that is, through adaptation to the dominant social ideals.